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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world


Greek inscription invoking the help of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Mektebeh, to the southeast of Chalkis and Beroia/Aleppo (north Syria). Probably late antique.

Evidence ID

E01792

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements

+ ἁγι Μαρία βοέθι Δομετις

'+ O holy Mary, help Dometios!'

Text:
IGLS 2, no. 339.

Cult Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)
Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Prayer/supplication/invocation
Construction of cult buildings
Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Source

A moulded corner block. H. 0.39 m; side A: W. 0,60 m; side B: W. 0.69 m. Found at Mektebeh, near a block with the Trisagion prayer. When recorded, the stone was partially buried.

The inscription is in low-relief; above, a band decorated with carvings of vines; below, mouldings. Letter height 0.08-0.09 m.

First published in 1908 by William Prentice, from his own copy. Republished in 1939 by Rene Mouterde and Louis Jalabert. There is no published image.


Discussion

William Prentice identified the block as the cap of a pier from the apse-arch of a church. If so, this might be a part of a building inscription with a prayer of the founder of this apse/chapel. For another invocation of Mary from Mektebeh, see: E01793. The character of these inscriptions (fine architectural elements) suggests that a church dedicated to Mary was constructed here.

The inscription contains a very common invocation of Mary. Prentice suggested that the name of the supplicant was a form of the name Dometios (Δομέτιος) or Domitios (Δομίτιος), possibly created under the influence of the Syriac language, and thus indeclinable and accented Δομετίς. He hypothesised that this might also be the case of the epithet 'holy', here spelt ἁγι instead of ἁγία.

Dating: this kind of invocation, with the formula βοήθει/'help' is usually dated to the late 5th or 6th/7th c.


Bibliography

Edition:
Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 339.

Prentice, W.K. (ed.),
Greek and Latin inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 248, no. 313.


Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified

24/10/2017

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΜαρίαCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01792 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E01792